13 March 2014 13:35

A pioneer of hospice care in Africa, who works closely with Lancaster University, has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Dr Anne Merriman, whose close links with the University’s International Observatory on End of Life Care (IOELC) have spanned ten years, is nominated for her work in recognition of contribution to pain relief for the dying all over the world.

She introduced affordable oral morphine, which she designed with pharmacists in Singapore, to Africa, where she founded Hospice Africa in Uganda. Affordable oral liquid morphine formula was first constituted at her request for a simple solution for cancer patients dying in pain at home.

Dr Merriman, who has a Masters in International Community Health, has dedicated her nomination to all who have worked with her to care for those suffering across Africa and the rest of the world.

“Hopefully, news of this nomination will bring even more help on board,” said Dr Merriman, who last year celebrated 50 years as a doctor.

Dr Merriman, who graduated in medicine in University College, Dublin, has worked all over the world including Nigeria, Kenya, Malaysia and Singapore and the UK. She is currently based in Uganda in Africa.

Since 1990, the simple solution of oral morphine has opened the door to affordable pain control and holistic care in Africa where cancer services are still available for only a very few patients, leaving most suffering in pain at home.

She received the MBE in 2002 for her contribution to health services in Uganda and in November 2013 she received the Presidential Distinguished Service Awards for the Irish Abroad.

She has published more than 110 articles, 6 books and is editor and a peer reviewer for several journals. Her book “Audacity to Love” the story of Hospice Africa was published by the Irish Hospice Foundation in 2010.

Professor Sheila Payne, Director of the IOELC at Lancaster University and president of the European Association for Palliative Care, said: “Hospice Africa Uganda is recognised internationally for its clinical and educational work in palliative care and Dr Merriman provides inspirational leadership by demonstrating just what can be achieved in resource-poor settings.”

Professor Payne learns more about Dr Merriman in a special interview to mark International Women’s Day.